Renaissance Covington has teamed up with Cincinnati-based MORTAR Entrepreneurship Academy to create a program to help those who want to start a business in Northern Kentucky.
The 15-week program is a crash course in the issues and challenges facing entrepreneurs, covering topics that include writing a business plan, branding and marketing, finances, legal issues, distribution, operations, and choosing a location.
The first class kicked off Aug. 18 with nine participants, says Jill Schneider, the MORTAR Covington program manager for Renaissance Covington. RCov is a nonprofit that works to energize the urban core through creative placemaking, community events and programming, and small-business support.
“We’re hoping that these entrepreneurs walk away with not only the tools but also the resources to take their businesses to the next level, whether that’s raising capital, opening a pop-up shop, or opening retail space,” Schneider says.
MORTAR has historically focused on underserved populations and inclusive entrepreneurship. It was created in 2014 to help create diverse communities by enabling historically marginalized entrepreneurs access the resources needed to start and run successful businesses.
“As Covington continues to grow and develop, we at Renaissance Covington believe it is imperative to place a focus on inclusive development,” says RCOV Executive Director, Nick Wade.
MORTAR says 87% of the alumni of its entrepreneurship program are people of color and 67% are women of color. Among its alums is Brian Jackson, the founder and CEO of Esoteric Brewery, Cincinnati’s first Black-owned brewery, which is located in Walnut Hills.
MORTAR uses subject matter experts in business law, finance and accounting, food and entertainment, retail, public relations and marketing, customer service, and other areas to help train those taking its program.
It also relies on trained facilitators who share their experiences and, using the MORTAR curriculum, guide entrepreneurs through the process of starting or growing their businesses.